New Statewide Business Court Will Offer More Options to Clients

House Bill 239, which establishes a statewide business court, became law on May 7, 2019. This business court is modeled off the business courts that had been put into place in the Metro Atlanta area beginning in 2005. The court should begin operations in January 2020, with first cases starting August 2020.

With the passage of this bill, Georgia joins New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina, all of whom have a statewide business court.  Additionally, there are twenty-three states with a specialized business court of some type in at least one of their cities, counties, or regions.

The goal of business courts is twofold. First the business courts strive to provide a forum where there are dedicated business court judges who are well-versed in the area of business law. Second, the hope is that the business courts will be able to hear cases much more quickly than traditional Superior or State Courts, where litigants can wait many months, or sometimes over a year, before reaching trial. 

The details of the court operations are still being ironed out, but the court is expected to be physically located either in Atlanta or Macon. The anticipated cost of transferring a case to the business court is $3,000.00. The court would have a judge with at least fifteen years’ experience in complex business litigation, who will be appointed by the governor to a five-year term.

Once the court begins operations and accepting cases, the statewide business court might be an attractive option for a party with a complex business case.